Archive for category: Music

second-hand words

Sometimes we’ll write a song, finish it up, even play it at a couple of concerts, and then it will fall flat.  Suddenly we don’t want to play it.  Suddenly we can’t even play it (to a kind of weird extent).  Then we throw it out.
But damn it, I always think when this happens, I finished lyrics for that!  I don’t want them to die!  See, sometimes it takes me a really long time to write lyrics.  Really, really, really long.  I can’t logic them finished.  It is all about the gut feeling and the inspiration, and they refuse to [...]

beneath the willows beside the sea

We came out of our last lovely weekend in Holland with a video to share.  Finally.  We always talk about videos, but at the end of the day, we’d rather try to get the next song finished then run around with cameras.
So behold:  Beneath the Willows, a new song that you’ve only heard if you’ve seen us in concert lately.  It is about all the fucked up mysogyny in old time country music, and how we need to be writing new stories for a new century, free from dudes killing ladies because they won’t sleep with them.  Or at all.  [...]

fire in the bones

So much of life is tidal that it is no wonder that inspiration operates on the same cycle.  And yet when the tide is out, I’m damning the water, and when it’s in, I’m floundering and flopping for the time to put thoughts in places where they will keep before the water slips back out to the sea.
Right now the musical tide is in.  The water is lapping at my toes, foaming lyrics and melodies and inspiration.  (If you are new to Click Clack Gorilla, this is the music I make.) We played a great show last week in Wiesbaden, [...]

music and language, language in music

This post is reincarnated from this post.  (Because breaking down how various German punk songs helped me learn the language doesn’t fly as well with the work audience.) NOTE: Sorry to anyone who read this earlier in the day.  For some reason the YouTube embeds just disappeared.

Year Zero.  Frankfurt am Main, Germany.  It was the year of the au pair.  The year of graffiti appreciation.  The year of loneliness and mad cap plans and then finding and bikes and more, but very different, mad cap plans.  It was the year of much trail-by-fire, DIY, bluff-your-way-through it language learning.  I took [...]

murder ballads and misogyny in country music

Old time country music. When someone asks, as someone inevitably does any time they interview us, what I find so attractive about the genre (besides the sound), it usually comes down to community. Old time country is music you played on your porch with your friends. Traditionals became traditionals because back in the day you had to learn it to hear it. With a common stock of traditionals, you could form an impromptu band with just about anyone, which was really important before recorded music made it something you could have anytime anywhere.  DIY or sit in silence mother fucker! [...]

(post) apocaylpse mix tape: dead flag blues

You might be asking yourself how it is that I came to be so obsessed with post-apocalyptic fiction and imagery. The answer is simple. I used to dream of revolution, but after a couple years I became very, very disillusioned. I just can’t believe we’re going to make it. I can’t believe that a revolution that could save us from this shit storm (environmentally, politically, etc) is possible, that we could pull it off without being slaughtered, every one, by the government strong arms. And if we did pull it off (whoever “we” are), would we be able to do [...]

and when i steal your heart, do you think you will resist?

It is hard to write a love song that isn’t cheesy.  Try it.  I don’t mean go write a song right now.  But think about love and the people you love and then let a few words come to mind.  Those first words are bound to be cliche, Hallmarked.  It doesn’t make them meaningless, but it does mean they are going to make an annoying, if not downright bad, song.  Put even the slightest bit of schmaltz to music and it becomes magnified, a big gooey horror come to melt the contents of your thinking meat.
I suppose I have managed [...]

tiny house movement: the t-shirt

When I think about it—and I often do—the fact that living in tiny houses has become a movement is kind of strange.  I mean, that used to just be the way it was, right?  Normal people didn’t live in huge McMansions.  Half of the time people were in homes that might be considered far too small for the number of people living in them. Nomadic peoples built shelters like the teepee.  Small houses were the norm.  Then we (in the western world at least and particularly in America) got all crazy and now couples live in huge, echoing structures that [...]

(post) apocalypse mix tape: the day the basement flooded

Photo (cc) flickr user GeertBoog
It was John Darnielle’s dirty, fizzley, basement-boom-box recordings that first trained me to turn a deaf ear to scrappy guitar and to love music that did little more than tell a damn fine story.  The Mountain Goats’ early recordings are the music that macheted the way for what would come into my headphones after: anti-folk.  (They are also partially to blame for the folk punk, but that’s another story.)
Anti-folk music covers a whole range of sounds, but generally it’s silly and irreverent.  It usually isn’t the pristine guitar licks or a perfect melody, but the detailed, [...]

music mama: touring with your baby

Seven day tour with a baby?  Why the hell not?  Then again, why?  Why why why?  When the Beard mentioned, way back when, that he wanted to plan a longish tour with our folk trio Battenkill Ramblers for this October I said sure.  But secretly, I wasn’t very excited.  I have very mixed feelings about touring, with or without getting a needy little human involved.
A few months before, we had been on a three-day trip with Baby Pickles—our first string of shows further than an evening’s train ride away—and it had been stressful.  By and large it went ok, but [...]